How to clean your BBQ

If your grill needs a little TLC before your next BBQ, the Lazy Susan team have you covered with our top cleaning tips and how-to guide.

Nobody likes cleaning their BBQ grill, it’s a dirty job, ash goes everywhere, and food and grease are baked on and tough to remove. It’s one of those chores that we’re all guilty of putting off on more than one occasion.

The Lazy Susan Team have compiled a bit of a how-to with a few tips that we’ve picked up over the years to help get the job done properly!

We’ve just published some of our favourite vegan BBQ recipes for summer 2022, so it only makes sense that we look at how to clean your BBQ grill too.  

We all love a good cookout here at the Lazy Susan HQ, but the cleaning, not so much. We've even paid to replace a perfectly good BBQ grill for our office patio because we’d neglected the cleaning, which, let’s be honest, is madness.  

Lazy Susan's how to clean your BBQ tips

We’ve learned the hard way I suppose. We now keep our current grill super clean. It’s on its 4th summer and looking as good as new and ready for our next office party. 

Unfortunately, there are no magic BBQ cleaning solutions. Yes, there are some great proprietary products but the nature of the beast means that, be it gas or charcoal grill, it is still going to need a little bit of elbow grease after grilling to get it clean. 

The trick is to keep on top of things to ensure that it stays in tip-top condition. Plus, if you’ve not used your BBQ grill since last summer, then chances are it is going to need a bloomin’ good scrub too. 

In this article, we’ll not only look at how to give it a deep clean but how you can keep on top after each use and share a few products, useful videos and a handful of pro BBQ cleaning tips we've picked up over the years.

How to deep clean a gas BBQ grill

Whilst a gas BBQ has the big advantage of no charcoal, it will still need to be kept clean. The biggest issue is often food residue in the burners, so you need to make sure they’re kept clean and in good working order.

That said, gas BBQs are generally a little easier to keep clean, and these simple steps are a great way to get it looking its best...

Start by placing the BBQ somewhere safe to clean it (i.e. not on your patio or pop down a plastic sheet if you need to protect a lawn for example) and disconnect the gas bottle for your safety. 

Pro BBQ Tip
Pro BBQ Tip:

A great tip we’ve picked up is to clean the BBQ when slightly warm but not so hot you can’t touch it. If you’re just bringing it out for its first use, then pop it on for a few mins before you disconnect. The heat will just soften any food residue/grease and make the cleaning much easier.

Remove all removable parts such as grill racks hot plates, etc. It’s much easier to soak/wash them separately in a large tub. 

In our experience, there’s no need for any specialist cleaners to wash the main body of the BBQ too. You just need a good kitchen cleaner that will cut through the grease and a large bucket filled with warm water. 

Spruce Multipurpose Cleane

We like Spruce’s Multipurpose Cleaner (pictured above) because it smells great, cuts through the muck and is refillable.

However, stick to what you like and what you use in your kitchen. You could even just use a good squirt of washing up liquid in your bucket of water. The trick is to have the water as warm as you can safely get it and wear some rubber gloves.

Wipe away any excess fat with kitchen paper and then spray with the cleaning spray, leave it to work for a minute or so, and then with a soft sponge or microfibre cloth wash it down with the warm water and make sure you wipe the underneath too.

For all removable parts such as grill racks, hot plates and cooling trays, gas burners etc, take a large plastic tub (we find those large under-bed storage boxes are perfect for this job) and fill it with warm water and a good glug of laundry detergent. Pop all the parts in and leave them to soak for about one hour.

Kona 360 Grill Brush

Afterwards, the racks will probably require a bit of a scrub with a BBQ Grill Brush such as the Kona 360 Grill Brush from (pictured above) but the food and grease will be soft enough that a few scrubs up and down will safely remove it. Any hot plates or burner parts are best cleaned with a soft sponge/scouring pad though.

Once washed, rinse with cold water and pop them in the sun to dry. Don’t be tempted to put any non-stainless steel parts in the dishwasher as it can rust them.

Pop all the removable parts back on and reconnect the gas bottle. Again, at this point, we like to pop the grill on for a few minutes as the heat will help to dry it off and burn off any remaining soapy residue before you next cook on it.

How to deep clean a charcoal BBQ grill

Much of the above can be applied to a charcoal BBQ but you need a few extra steps to get rid of any old burnt on charcoal. I’m lucky that my BBQ at home has a removable grill box so it makes this job a little easier.

Once the charcoal has fully cooled I can slide it out and tip all that ash into a bin bag. If you can't do this, then removing it can be messy, so just take your time as you want it in a bag and not all over the garden.

Kamado Ash Shovel 

A dustpan and brush can be tricky to get in some of the smaller kettle-style grills, so one of the best tools we’ve found for this job is the Kamado Ash Shovel from Harbour Life (pictured above). Then with a small brush or clean soft-bristle paintbrush (which is perfect for this job), you can easily get in and sweep it out.

The key is to do this after every use, as allowing the burnt coals (carbon) to build up is bad for your health. Where they mix with food residue they can harden pretty solid to the grill box too. If this is the case, sweep out as much as you can add a little hot water with washing-up liquid and leave it to soften.

The BBQ itself and grill trays can be cleaned using the same method as a gas BBQ. The disadvantage is you can’t as easily warm them up so it may require a longer soak and a little more scrubbing with a grill brush. If it is being a little stubborn, gently pry it off with a plastic knife or spatula/fish slice.

If your charcoal BBQ has a removable grill grate (where you pop your charcoal) these are prone to rusting so rather than soaking like the racks, just give them a good scrub in some warm water with your grill brush and leave it to dry.

Pro BBQ Tip
Pro BBQ Tip:

Once dry you can coat the grill racks and plates with a little cooking oil (vegetable, sunflower, olive, whatever your preference) and some kitchen towel. It will not only help prevent food from sticking to the grate when you next fire up the BBQ but it will also prevent it from rusting.

The inside of your BBQ lid can get pretty mucky from all the grease and smoke and it can look unsightly. A great way to clean this is to apply a kitchen multipurpose cleaner again and scrub it gently with a ball of crumpled tin foil. It should gently remove without scratching the painted finish. If unsure though, test it in a small inconspicuous area first

Once you’ve washed it all down with warm soapy water, towel dry and then leave in the sun to fully dry. If you do store it outside, make sure you cover it with a weatherproof cover to keep it clean and protect it from the elements too.

Pro BBQ Tip
Pro BBQ Tip:

Another great tip we’ve picked up is to apply a light coat of baby oil on all parts of the BBQ that food doesn’t touch. It will help give it a little extra protection from the elements but also help to give the metal a nice shine.

How to clean your BBQ after using it

Most BBQs will need a deep clean at least once a year. However, you can make that deep clean much easier by giving it a basic clean after each use. This is what we do and cleaning in the right way with the right products is keeping our office grill looking like new.

Again, much of the method is the same as a deep clean, but speed is the keep here, so no soaking. After using let it cool down, and if you can, whilst still a little warm is the best time to do this. However, I know after many a Lazy Susan BBQ this often has to be done the next day (I can't confirm or deny if a few drinks are the reason or not).

Remove any charcoal ash as per the deep clean and wash it down. In between deep cleans we won’t soak grill trays, etc, just a quick scrub with the grill brush to remove all the gunk will suffice.

Pro BBQ Tip
Pro BBQ Tip:

Generally, we will clean the BBQ with kitchen cleaning solutions but one BBQ-specific product we’ve found to be great in between deep cleans is UltraGrime® BBQ Wipes (pictured below). They’re great for removing grease and you can use them to clean utensils as well as the grill itself. They have a rough-textured side that will shift most burnt-on muck, and you can just wipe off and bin. They’re great if you’re in a hurry and just want to give it a quick wipe-over!

BBQ cleaning videos

Dave's Ohio BBQ has this great video (above) that shows he cleans his gas Weber grill. He shows you what tools he uses and there’s some great advice on replacing parts that wear out.

Sticking with Weber, Postal Barbecue has this great video showing how to best clean their Kettle charcoal grills. It shows what you can achieve with the right tools, products and a little bit of TLC.

Clean My Space on the other hand have some great tips for cleaning the different materials we find on a BBQ such as stainless steel, cast iron and enamel. It walks you through some tools and demos and offers a great overview.

If you’ve got any BBQ cleaning tips you’d like to share with the Lazy Living readers, please drop them in the comments below.

If you’re hosting a BBQ on your Lazy Susan garden table this summer, then we’d love to see them for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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